Beijing Has Brought Western Environmental Activism Under Its Control

At COP26 China refused to promise to phase out coal and last week the nation broke its own daily record for coal production at 12.05 million tonnes. Bizarrely, China is not perceived as a villain by many of the West’s environmental activists, who instead put the blame for global warming on nations closer to home. The reason for this is likely because Beijing has infiltrated and seized control of much of the West’s environmental institutions, creating an army of ‘useful idiots’ who turn a blind eye to the sins of the Communist regime. The Daily Mail has the story.

Yesterday, green campaigners hailed some modest successes, such as pledges to reduce methane. But back in the real world, China, whose President, Xi Jinping, did not even turn up, is still building coal-fired power stations at a rate of knots and the ‘agreement’ it reached with America to ‘co-operate’ on global warming lacked any substance.

Yet the campaigners in Glasgow barely mentioned, let alone criticised, China. A spokesman for Insulate Britain told me: “We mustn’t use China as a scapegoat.”

Some campaigners even heap praise on China. So why is there such an apparent lack of concern? One answer lies in a book called Hidden Hand: Exposing How The Chinese Communist Party Is Reshaping The World, by Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg. Serialised in the Mail last year, it argues that China has extended its influence over certain institutions in Britain and other democracies in order to blind them to Beijing’s drive for supremacy.

China, the book says, seduces politicians, business people, academics and campaigners into supporting its aims. It regards them as ‘useful idiots’, unwitting instruments of its goal of becoming the world’s only superpower.

Evidence unearthed by this newspaper, working with researchers fluent in Mandarin, shows Western environmentalists have indeed become a target. Documents suggest they are enmeshed with bodies subordinate to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and staffed by figures from its most ruthless departments.

They include Xie Zhenhua, China’s Chief Climate Envoy. Until 2012, he was a member of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, which enforces state orthodoxy. According to Human Rights Watch, it has been responsible for illegal detention, torture and forced confessions.

“I’m dismayed that some leading Western environmentalists are talking up the CCP as the saviour of the world,” Hamilton says. Take, for example, Professor Lord Stern, Chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, who advises the Government.

Having taught in China since 1998, in 2009 he told a Chinese magazine he had “close contacts” with CCP officials. In 2014, he wrote a paper for the World Economic Forum claiming China was “emerging as a global leader in climate policy”. In 2016 he claimed China’s emissions “may already have peaked”. They hadn’t. The following year, he insisted there was “compelling evidence” China’s coal use had also peaked.

Stern even praised President Jinping’s “personal commitment to driving climate action”, concluding: “The world is looking for a climate champion. In China, it has one.” But in March he sounded less optimistic, saying it is “crucial” China stops building new coal-fired power plants and stops increasing its emissions by 2025.

Nevertheless, Bob Ward, Stern’s Spokesman, told me China was taking “significant action” and the rate of increase in its emissions had slowed enormously. He said China was “keen to learn from the UK’s example of world-leading action on climate change”.

Worth reading in full.

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